A systematic review of activities at a high-volume ethics consultation service

Courtenay Bruce, Martin L. Smith, Sabahat Hizlan, Richard R. Sharp

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


We describe the ethics consultation service (ECS) at the Cleveland Clinic and report on its activities over a 24-month period in which 478 consultations were performed. To our knowledge, this is the largest case series of ethics consultations reported to date. Established more than 25 years ago, the ECS at the Cleveland Clinic is staffed by multiple consultants with advanced training in bioethics. Several of these ethicists work closely with specialized clinical units and research departments, where they participate in multidisciplinary meetings and provide specialized assistance. This combination of historical experience, large numbers of consultation requests, and specialized clinical ethicists suggests that the experience at the Cleveland Clinic may be helpful to ethicists and others who may be considering how to structure and sustain a vibrant ECS. Our results highlight the diversity of activities performed by a high-volume ECS at a tertiary care facility. Our hope in sharing the inner workings of the ECS at the Cleveland Clinic is to promote dialogue on common practices and approaches across medical institutions that support ethics consultation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-164
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical Ethics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy


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